Using smartphone apps with daily text messages or videos may encourage you to think about dieting and eating well, helping you lose more weight, a new study has found. Researchers at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in the US found that cellphone support can help people lose significantly more weight.
The study conducted by Tanika Kelly, associate professor of epidemiology, found that using one of the many mobile apps with daily text messages or videos incites the user to think about dieting and eating well. “In conjunction with reducing caloric intake and increasing physical activity, mobile messaging services could help to maintain and sustain weight loss over time. It reminds us to continue our good behaviours,” said Kelly.
One of the students in Kelly’s meta-analysis class, Fangchao Liu, an advanced PhD student from China, worked with a group to analyse 14 previous randomised controlled trials of mobile phone interventions that included 1,337 participants. Liu is the first author of an abstract published in the journal Circulation about the meta-analysis, which showed mobile phone interventions correlated with weight loss and reduction in body mass index.
Although the increased weight loss was modest – about 1.44 kg on average during the six- and 12-month studies – Kelly said that individual weight loss can have important public health implications for populations. Obesity and being overweight is a major global health challenge because of the direct link to cardiovascular disease and diabetes, Kelly said. “Even modest levels of sustained weight loss can yield substantial reductions in weight-related morbidity, mortality and healthcare costs,” she said.